Sticky Seville orange cake

by Beca Lyne-Pirkis

A dense, intensely-flavoured loaf with warming coriander & caraway

A dense and intense cake that’s sticky but not too sweet. The toasted seeds add a warmth to the cake that balances the bitterness of the oranges. The perfect partner for a strong black coffee.


For the cake:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp caraway seeds
130g butter, softened
225g dark brown sugar
3 eggs
115g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
2 Seville oranges, zest and juice
60g natural yoghurt

For the syrup:
7 Seville oranges
150g light brown sugar

To decorate:
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1 tsp caraway seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
2 tsp demerara sugar


Preheat the oven to 160C, grease and line a 450g loaf tin.

Start by toasting the coriander and caraway seeds in a dry pan, set over a medium heat. As soon as the spices start to pop, remove the pan from the heat to cool before grinding in a pestle and mortar or coffee/spice grinder.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until combined and slightly paler in colour. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well after each egg. Gradually add the flour, baking powder and ground almonds, then finally the zest and yoghurt and stir to combine. Scrape into the tin and bake until cooked—around 55 mins. Test with a skewer.

To give the cake its sticky element, make a syrup that will also ‘candy’ the peel for the top of the cake. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully take strips of zest from 3-4 oranges, trying not to get too much white pith as you zest. Slice the pieces into strips measuring 5mm (ish) thick and place into a saucepan along with the sugar. Squeeze the juice from the oranges—you’ll need 120ml in total—and add to the pan. Add in 2 tbsp water to make the liquid to sugar ratio the same and heat the mixture over a medium heat, until the sugar has dissolved. Cook the syrup for a further 5 mins, until the peel has softened and the syrup has thickened. Leave to cool.

In the same pan that you toasted the spices for the cake, toast a few more in exactly the same way. Instead of grinding them this time, just roughly crush them and stir through 2 tbsp demerara sugar.

To decorate, remove the cake from the tin and place onto a plate ready to serve. Carefully spoon the sticky peel onto the top of the cake and pour the remaining syrup over the cake and down the sides. Finish by scattering the roughly crushed toasted seeds and demerara on top.

Recipe: Beca Lyne-Pirkis